By Attiya Karodia
As a young woman growing up in a Free South Africa, I’ve learned that the word ‘free’ is often subject to circumstance, and that the word ‘young’ is only a matter of the inner youth you possess. But being a woman is something that is given to you without warning, and you cannot negotiate its definition, in most parts of the world anyway.
African women have to adapt to a fast changing environment, meet their monthly expenditures as well as succeed in their chosen field. We carry so much on our shoulders, that to consider ourselves successful African women we will need to overcome so many obstacles.
I constantly look around me for inspiration, and I have been so lucky to have in my circle a diamond forged by hardship and moulded by the Lord into what can only be described as incredible. 21-year-old Zizipho Ndevu and her sister Phinda started an au pair agency with the aim of providing jobs for skilled women while also meeting the demands of the working South African woman with child care needs. I caught up with her to understand a little more about her inspiration and hopes for the future.
What is the hardest part about being an aspiring African business woman for you?
It’s very difficult to enter the corporate world; there aren’t enough businesses in the private sector that are willing to assist in the development of young business owners. As an African there are opportunities, but these need to be sustainable with minimal expense to us.
What has been your biggest influence along this new road you’ve taken?
Being able to be in a country that promotes economic growth is great! It motivates me to push forward knowing that I’m assisting government in their drive towards job creation. The ability to assist someone who has never had employment is such an honor.
As a born free*, is there anything you feel we still need to learn in order to be successful?
Born frees need to appreciate what they have been given. If we can learn that success is the result of hard work and that being successful isn’t a trend, it’s a new age for our country as a whole. We need to support each other with respect, but also to promote each others businesses. Each of is need to be able not only to aspire towards our own success but the success of our fellow brothers and sisters.
Zizi is not an isolated inspiration, but rather, a symbol of what we are all capable of, and a shining example of a mindset we should all adopt. Women like Zizi exist in our homes as mothers, raising the young women around them to be pillars of strength and the foundations on which a truly successful Africa can thrive.
* Collins dictionary: A born free (in South Africa) is a person who was born or grew up after the end of the Apartheid era